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Hollywood Buddies up with Bram Cohen 205

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the he's-so-cuddly dept.
brajesh writes "According to an AP story at Yahoo News, Hollywood studios announced an agreement with Bram Cohen, the creator of the popular BitTorrent file-swapping technology, that will keep him from helping users find pirated copies of movies online. The agreement requires BitTorrent to remove Web links leading to illegal content owned by the seven studios that are members of the MPAA. The agreement is a major breakthrough in MPAA's anti-piracy efforts. BitTorrent has been one of the major targets[.doc] of MPAA's anti-piracy tirade. However, Cohen's engine is far from the only tool used to find pirated BitTorrent files online. A handful of other online engines can search BitTorrent-specific sites, and ordinary search engines can also be used to find BitTorrent files."
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Hollywood Buddies up with Bram Cohen

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  • by ummit (248909) <scs@eskimo.com> on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:25AM (#14099956) Homepage
    ...Cohen's engine is far from the only tool used to find pirated BitTorrent files online. A handful of other online engines can search BitTorrent-specific sites, and ordinary search engines can also be used to find BitTorrent files.

    There's an old saying, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease". The big copyright holders will always go after the highest-profile "choke points" first, and in general (i.e. when solving problems of any kind, regardless of how you feel about the studios' motives ion solving this particular "problem"), it can be a perfectly appropriate, effective strategy.

    Techies often have a bad habit of adopting a sort of slippery-slope, sky-is-falling, all-or-nothing approach to problem solving (especially if it's a problem they don't really want to solve). "This proposed solution has a hole in it and is not guaranteed to be 100% effective, therefore it is no solution at all and is foolish to pursue." Not necessarily true. You don't always need to find a perfect solution; sometimes a 90% solution is good enough, especially if the alternative is sitting on your hands doing nothing wishing you had a 100% perfect solution.

    (Off-topic, but to rescue my karma before I'm accused of siding with the studios here: the same thought processcan act in all sorts of other situations, not just copy protection. For example, if you suggest that a great way of reducing the threat of e-mail vuruses would be to redesign mail clients so that they don't make it easy to click on executable attachments and run them, while still allowing users to click on data attachments and view them, you'll receive all sorts of "objections" from techies who think they know better, pointing out that your solution "won't work" because of the possibility of e.g. JPEG and Word viruses.)

    • by Liquorman (691815) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:31AM (#14100025)
      Agree. In my business, we frequently have to rely on the 80-20 rule - solve 80% of the problem that you can with the least effort and then worry about the other 20%. This seems like what they are trying to do.

      I also think the MPAA are becomming smarter. This quote FTA shows that they are learning from the mistakes of and bad publicity of the RIAA:

      Glickman said his staff had been holding talks with Cohen even before that ruling to see "how we can work collaboratively and not be at each other's throats."

      • "at eachother's throats"

        They say this is an agreement, but I'm failing to see what Cohen is getting, other than a promise to not be sued. I RTFA, but I didn't see where in exchange for blocking illegal downloads, Cohen was going to help develop video distribution software or anything.

        Was this good for anyone other than the MPAA?
        • In the interview Bram made an oblique reference to some future deal his company is going to do with them, the theory is that they're going to be involved in content distribution. But I think he's being naive (if there's going to be a deal, why not announce it now? What's to keep the MPAA to get bored and wander off now that they've got what they want?). To paraphrase Homer Simpson, "the most important lesson I learned dealing with the entertainment industry is...don't trust the entertainment industry."
        • Was this good for anyone other than the MPAA?

          Yes, because in the eyes of non-techies (more importantly the legislature and judiciary) it emphasises the legitimicy of the non-infringing uses BitTorrent and distances the technology away from the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding file-sharing.

      • Juran's Assumption (Score:3, Insightful)

        by spoonyfork (23307)

        Agree. In my business, we frequently have to rely on the 80-20 rule - solve 80% of the problem that you can with the least effort and then worry about the other 20%. This seems like what they are trying to do.

        How is your business doing? I ask because either you're not using the 80/20 rule most business apply or you're doing it incorrectly. The 80/20 rule is defined as for many phenomena 80% of consequences stem from 20% of the causes. Most management apply this by focusing on the 20% of their business th

        • by timeOday (582209)
          How ironic, you're getting lost in the weeds talking about a rule of thumb that's about not getting lost in the weeds.

          To propse that somebody's busiess will fail because they don't adhere to the intricate technicalities of a rule of thumb is preposterous.

      • by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @12:04PM (#14100848) Journal

        I also think the MPAA are becomming smarter. This quote FTA shows that they are learning from the mistakes of and bad publicity of the RIAA:

        Well, even most /.'ers would have to admit that there is a bit of a difference between MPAA and RIAA. RIAA's entire business model is based around enslaving artists into draconian contracts where they make the lions share of the money off CD sales and the only thing the artist gets out of it is publicity. One wonders why such a business model survives in the internet age.

        The members of the MPAA actually make a product (of sorts) that's tangible. They aren't paying actors and writers 15 cents a movie and telling them to make it up with autograph sales and concerts. Who here can't understand why the MPAA would get pissed when the new Star Wars or Harry Potter movie is floating around the internet days before it's released? Granted, I still have issues with them (region codes come to mind), but nothing like the complete lack of respect that I have for RIAA.

    • by bombshelter13 (786671) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:40AM (#14100119)
      The highest profile 'choke points' are Pirate Bay, Torrentspy, and Mininova. Everyone I know uses these. The www.bittorrent.com search engine was never very good and I've only heard of people using it after failing to find what they wanted at one of the aforementioned sites. They're going after it not because it's a high profile choke point but because it's the only one Bram can personally control.
    • by westyx (95706) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:42AM (#14100134)
      The biggest "choke point" in this case is Google. I would just *love* to see the RIAA and MPAA go after google.
    • by max born (739948) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:43AM (#14100143)
      sometimes a 90% solution is good enough ...

      You maybe right but isn't this more like a 10% solution falling to a 0% solution after people realize the movies they want aren't listed on bittorrent.com?

      Most people know to use google (movie title filetype:tor) to find torrents.

      Plus bittorrent is released under an open source license [bittorrent.com] so Cohen's no longer in control of the code.

      Perhaps he's duping the studios -- gimme so money and I'll help you fight movie sharing, knowing full well removing links from his site won't do much in the long run but he can get some cash in the meantime.
      • I get the impression he really wants bit torrent to be used for legitimate uses and isn't saying that with a wink and a nod.

        Many of us are corrupted (1) by fighting corrupt people(2) all the time but some people are incorruptible or havn't been corrupted yet.

        (1) These days I say the ends justify the means a lot more frequently.
        (2) Like, say, buying governments to extend copyrights indefinately.

        (1)+(2) I feel no guilt downloading anything produced before 28 years ago. It should be public domain.
      • Most people know to use google (movie title filetype:tor) to find torrents.

        No they don't. I'm not exactly technically improficient but I didn't know about the filetype thing.

        Even a 1% solution is better than 0%, that's something people on this site don't (and refuse to) understand.

        It's like when someone comes up with a security system based on obscurity, the whiners will crawl out of the woodwork to say it's worthless because it won't work 100% of the time against 100% of the attackers. Talk about missing t
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I think you're right - but I think Cohen is doing a clever thing here. He can see that people will get torrents elsewhere (when I read this I said, "there's an official torrent search site?"), so if he goes to the content providers and says, "what can I do to make my tool legit?", and then he does these things, it will make headlines. The movie companies are satisfied, and so is everyone who uses torrents. Those who care about copyright will go to Cohen's site, and those who don't will go elsewhere. When
    • Off-topic, but to rescue my karma before I'm accused of siding with the studios here:

      You know, there's nothing particularly wrong with siding with them when they're right. As the most obvious example, most of us side with any studio that comes out with a good movie on whether or not they should be able to create a good movie.

      Even on the more controvertial issue of copyright infringement, and content producer's attempts to control it: the studios trying to stamp out piracy isn't a bad thing by itself, p

  • So what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jordan Catalano (915885) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:25AM (#14099959) Homepage
    His search engine was far from the first place people looked for illegal content anyway.
    • No kidding.

      More to the point, anyone who wants this type of content knows where to look for it, and I seriously doubt they went looking for it there.
    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by slavemowgli (585321)
      So what? I'm not sure, but I don't think that he's doing this because he's personally worried about Holly wood movies being shared on BitTorrent - he's doing it to cover his own rear. He's quite obviously making money with BitTorrent, enough to be able to afford a life for himself and his family, and I think he wants to preserve that, which is perfectly understandable.

      Adding a torrent search engine is a good first step to make BitTorrent even more widespread and ubiquitious as it already is. Striking a deal
    • Cohen is a very smart guy... you only have to read his blog or even just take a look at Bittorrent to see this. It could be possible that he built the Bittorrent Search Engine (which was certainly an unexpected development) as a straw man for the xxAA to knock down.

      This is really a good thing. Now it can be claimed that Bittorrent has introduced legitimising technologies at it's core the media will probably report it as such. To the average P2Per, there is no difference and people can continue to get what t

  • Relevancy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jaymzter (452402) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:25AM (#14099960) Homepage
    Considering that bittorrent.com is not the first site you'd think of when searching for torrents, and that bittorrent itself is Open Source, how is this relevant to anyone other than Cohen?
    Call me when Vivid Videos start complaining about swapping their stuff, then I'll be worried!
    • Considering that bittorrent.com is not the first site you'd think of when searching for torrents, and that bittorrent itself is Open Source, how is this relevant to anyone other than Cohen?

      That's *exactly* what I thought when I heard about this yesterday. Like, I haven't been to Cohen's site since BitTorrent first arrived on the scene and would never have thought that he would have been linking to copyrighted content anyway. Guess I was wrong?

      But... What I do find interesting is that they are going about
    • In fact his bittorrent.com search engine is merely a customisation of the Open Source Nutch search engine and so it wouldn't be hard for someone else to replicate the site and functionality.
  • by 8127972 (73495) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:26AM (#14099968)
    ..... for the MPAA. It's a great headline in a press release, but one has to wonder how many people haven't already moved on to something else...... It's sort of like closing the barn doors after all the horses have left.
  • by paranode (671698) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:26AM (#14099969)
    If he were to be resistant to this kind of thing then it would come off as supportive of piracy and whether or not he really condoned it he would probably get shut down in court. One of the 'joys' of getting big is you have to worry about things like due diligence.
    • Shut down for what? Developing yet another file transfer protocol? That's what BitTorrent is after all. And for the torrent links on BitTorrent.com, he probably sifts through them anyway and throws out those that look fishy to him. Basicly for BitTorrent the links are just a proof of concept: Here! That's what a torrent file looks like, and that's what happens if you click at it, and look, how many of them I can easily host on my rather small bandwith site. There is absolutely no point for him to have thing
    • If he were to be resistant to this kind of thing then it would come off as supportive of piracy and whether or not he really condoned it he would probably get shut down in court. One of the 'joys' of getting big is you have to worry about things like due diligence.

      Actually, my understanding is that just the opposite is true. Napster lost in court not because they were not trying to remove copyrighted works, or because they never looked for copyrighted works on their network, but because they did look, a

  • Isn't this like... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by craznar (710808) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:27AM (#14099971) Homepage
    ... talking to the inventor of FTP and telling him to not let you download movies from his site ?
    • ... talking to the inventor of FTP and telling him to not let you download movies from his site ?

      I think asking the maintainer of Archie [ou.edu] to remove popular films from searches would be closer.

    • Ssshhhh! (Score:5, Funny)

      by i_should_be_working (720372) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:42AM (#14100140)
      Don't give the mpaa any more ideas. I get all my warez from his site
      • I find 192.168.1.100 is fantastic... there's piles of stuff on that site...
      • Yeah, the ftp:// [ftp] site is really cool, but man they got some security. First you need a dotted quad security code, then a username and then a password! And all of them seem to go to different sections of the site, it must be huge!
    • "Isn't this like talking to the inventor of FTP and telling him to not let you download movies from his site?"

      I don't think I get your point. Are you saying that the inventor of FTP should be allowed to host movies and other IP on his site for other people to freely download? Why, because he invented a protocol? I guess you're modded at +5 insightful, so who am I to say that it's faulty logic and a bad analogy?

      Changing subjects, BitTorrent was not invented as a tool for piracy and illegal downloading,

      • by Dun Malg (230075)
        I don't think I get your point. Are you saying that the inventor of FTP should be allowed to host movies and other IP on his site for other people to freely download? Why, because he invented a protocol? I guess you're modded at +5 insightful, so who am I to say that it's faulty logic and a bad analogy?

        His point was that (at this point) Bram Cohen has as much control over the use of bittorrent as the creator of FTP has of the use of FTP.

  • by mustafap (452510) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:27AM (#14099975) Homepage

    As

        BitTorrent: The Movie

  • Yawn. (Score:2, Informative)

    by theSpaceCow (920198)
    Wake me up when the MPAA has signed an agreement with each of the dozens of sites people actually use to find trackers. I've used bittorrent for about a year and a half now, and I didn't even know bittorrent.com had links to torrents. I guess I've been spoiled by Suprnova, IsoHunt, TorrentReactor, et al.
  • What was really said (Score:5, Informative)

    by rueger (210566) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:28AM (#14099992) Homepage
    Yikes, the post above is almost incoherent, so here's a clip from the press release. Cohen has agreed to remove links to copyrighted content from the Bitorrent search:

    The agreement negotiated Tuesday requires 30-year-old software designer Bram Cohen to remove Web links to pirated versions of movies from his Web site, bittorrent.com, effectively frustrating people who search for illegal copies of films.

    The agreement involves connections to content owned by the seven studios that are members of the Motion Picture Association of America.

    "BitTorrent Inc. discourages the use of its technology for distributing films without a license to do so," Cohen said in the statement. "As such, we are pleased to work with the film industry to remove unauthorized content from bittorrent.com's search engine."

    The deal will not prevent all illegal copies from being swapped using the BitTorrent technology. Cohen said during a news conference that even after links to files are removed from his search engine, some files could still be found using other means such as google.com.
    • by Lxy (80823) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:38AM (#14100111) Journal
      Cool, someone actually READ the article.

      I see this as a good thing. All along the *AA has been after torrent for being a pircay tool. Now Bram has entered the good graces of the *AA, and has made it known as a legitimate protocol with the powers that be.

      Now people can stop pissing and moaning about the protocol and start pointing fingers at the websites that post copyrighted torrents, such and piratebay and suprnova. Meanwhile, downloading linux and other legal software will hopefully continue unencumbered. This is a big win for users of torrent.
      • "that post copyrighted torrents,"

        The torrents are not copyrighted (at least not by RIAA or MPAA). The data they point to is (maybe) copyrighted.

        Piratebay and Suprnova do nothing illegal. It is not even unethical.
    • I hope Bram convinced the mpaa to pay him for his trouble. I seriously doubt anyone finds pirated movies via the search on bittorrent.com anyway.
  • How about google? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by djsmiley (752149) <djsmiley2k@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:29AM (#14100002) Homepage Journal
    I would just LOVE to see google offering a *.torrent search. Then i would love to see the MPAA or whatever they are called take them on...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:30AM (#14100012)
    They'll do anything for publicity. His engine is nothing compared to the search engine God.

    www.google.com
    harry potter filetype:torrent

    Until they shut down google their attempts are futile.
  • by angryflute (206793) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:31AM (#14100020) Homepage
    Heck, I had no idea that there was even a torrent search engine at Bram's site until this news.

    I figured the news was going to be a partnership where bittorrent technology would be used for a paid distribution system backed by the major studios. Instead, it's just Bram agreeing to prevent his site's search engine from looking up pirated movies -- something I would have figured he might have done on his own long ago, and without the encouragement (strongarming?) of the MPAA.
    • I wonder if he got paid for this (if so, good deal), or if his "payment" was an agreement not to sue him into bankruptcy....
    • Come on, lets see it at the good side.

      You know the technology is called BitTorrent okey?, and the site is www.bittorrent.com,

      Glickman said his efforts, including Tuesday's announcement, would not stop piracy, but would send a signal to other technology companies that studios are eager to work on legal downloading alternatives.

      So, this could be a nice move from the movies industries to provide a *legal* way to download their content using bittorrent.

      With the proper advertizing the bittorrent site could offer
  • by AntiDragon (930097) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:31AM (#14100026)
    Considering that Cohen is keen to keep clean as he has a company to maintain and that the MPAA is obviosly ill-informed about what bit-torrent is and does this really is a zero impact announcement.

    Still, it keeps Cohen in their good books (I'm not against someone making money!) and if it means the studios think they've made headway and so back off a bit it's a good thing all round.

    So everyone just smile an nod, kay? Whatever you do, don't tell them most people now just burn copies of movies... ...oh..shii...!
    • I wouldn't call it zero impact. It shows that the MPAA is looking at bittorrent as a legitimate protocol. All too many times we've seen the *AA try to stop a particular piece of software because it COULD be used for piracy. Now we have the creator of bittorent basically given the blessing of the MPAA to continue his work on the protocol. This is a big accomplishment, and it shows that the MPAA may not be quite as draconian as the RIAA.

      This is good news for all of us using torrent legitimately.
    • Considering that Cohen is keen to keep clean as he has a company to maintain and that the MPAA is obviosly ill-informed about what bit-torrent is and does this really is a zero impact announcement.

      Zero impact? I foresee the following:

      1) MPAA dumps a list of 78321 movies on Bram Cohen, telling him they want them taken out of the search immediately.
      2) Bram Cohen works his ass of day and night for a week, scanning lists and running greps, in order to comply as he promised he would.
      3) MPAA finds a movie he f

  • by SlashAmpersand (918025) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:31AM (#14100027)
    Sony, RIAA: Attack paying customers (Rootkit), sue single mothers and children with little (which was probably obtained illegally) or no evidence. MPAA: Gain cooperation of P2P network to block actual pirates. At least it's a step in the right direction.
  • The MPAA is smarter (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sgent (874402) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:32AM (#14100029)
    at least they were. I remember watching an interview of the MPAA president on MSNBC, where they were specifically asked about BitTorrent. Unlike Grokster and some of the other P2P technologies, the MPAA was quite excited about BitTorrent and its potential use as a tool in the future. He mentioned that a lot of legitimate things are shared by BitTorrent, and it could present a distribution technology for the studio's in the future. I'm not surprised by this partnership -- as MPAA gets the founder of the technology onboard, and gets a good platform to legitimize this.
  • If you don't like the MPAA or the ideas of DRM and copyright, then you should act on those beliefs. You should finance and produce a great feature film that appeals to a large audience. Then, waive copyright and release the film without any DRM.

    The current system of film distribution is voluntary. You, as a film producer, can choose to use it or not. The current situation is perfect.
    • Actually I plan to do something similar with my film once it's completed.

      I won't be waiving copyright, but I will be releasing it online for free as a full featured DVD (single layer). Torrents are the only way I could ever do this as there's no way I could pay for that sort of bandwidth myself.

      How will I make any money from my art? Well that part is up to everyone who downloads it. If you like the film and want to contribute something back so I can make more films, I will be selling signed copies of the DV
  • I'm glad they didn't put him in jail - after all he developed bittorrent, so it would make sense to sue him, right? Right?

    From what I recall, he never came out saying "here's a great tool to get your m0v13s on!". He just developed it and let it run. If all that the MPAA will do in terms of bothering him is to have him state officially "I won't tell people how to find movies", that's great.

    (After all, it's not like people don't know where to find such things if they are the spawn of Satan and are looking
  • Meh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by belgar (254293) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:34AM (#14100058) Homepage
    ....move along, move along [thepiratebay.org]...
  • Really, I am. I hate the MPAA, RIAA and Sony as much as anybody here, but why is it a bad thing that they convinced him not to link to their content which they never agreed to put online?

    It's their choice. Their content. Like them or hate them, it's up to them whether they want them shared or not.

    I don't think I'm seeing the problem here.
    • And Cohen doesn't really have any financial interest in promoting or assisting infringing downloads. He's supposed to be running a business, based on lawful distribution of content of various types. I wouldn't be suprised if he contacted them first and offered a press-release opportunity for them, in hopes of getting better ties with the folks who could put more money in his pocket.
    • I disagree that it is there content if it is over 28 years old.

      There are also several other rationalizations and justifications I can rely on (Do I already have it recorded so I'm just getting a better copy)(Is it something that isn't for sale at all because they are choosing not to sell it)(Has the company acted like an asshat).
  • i'm sure he's laughing all the way to the bank

    ...and then going home and using GNUnet [gnu.org]
    • Not to be difficult (well maybe not) but care to add:

      Why GNUnet is better?

      Not saying it is or isn't, I'd just like to know why you think so. A GNUnet canononical website has a comparison chart with some other file-sharing apps but BitTorrent isn't on it.

  • ``the popular BitTorrent file-swapping technology''

    What BitTorrent file-swapping technology? Last I checked, BitTorrent was still only for downloading files that someone has explicitly offered for download. It's very much like HTTP, except that you download from multiple sources at once, and become such a source yourself while you download.
  • ...but you'd be wrong.

    ...Cohen's engine is far from the only tool used to find pirated BitTorrent files online.

    Yes, it's very far, seeing as it can't find anything without a tracker, and can't even find that by itself. He made the protocol and a client, not a web search engine!

  • by tbuskey (135499) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:43AM (#14100145) Journal
    It looks like Bittorrent the tool won't be attacked. They'll go after infringers instead of the protocol/tool (I hope).

    I've used BT to get Linux distributions. It works well. I'd hate to lose that because something thinks BT is for illegal stuff only.

    Kudos to all involved.
  • Weak (Score:4, Insightful)

    by austad (22163) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:46AM (#14100171) Homepage
    I heard yesterday that the MPAA and Bram were going to announce something, and truthfully, I got a bit excited hoping that we would see some sort of Bittorrent related legal movie download service.

    Gimme a break, this announcement it total BS. So Bram announces that he will censor his site, a site which is a search engine and doesn't even really have content of its own. The only reason that it's newsworthy is that it's because the little guy bowed to the big guy and gave in to their censorship requests. Bittorrent.com doesn't do anything illegal by offering search results, it's sites like thepiratebay that are doing the illegal stuff.

    Wake me up when the MPAA and Bram actually have something interesting to announce.
    • Re:Weak (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Jetifi (188285) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:55AM (#14100251) Homepage

      Its a just quid-pro-quo, which I imagine works a bit like this:

      • The MPAA gets to show its member organisations that it's working, and is handed a propaganda victory in the copyfight.
      • Bram Cohen's startup gets some much-needed press, which keeps the VC's happy and attracts traffic, and (bonus!) isn't sued by the MPAA.

      I can't say I blame him. He's never condoned piracy, there's no reason for him to start now, and it's not as if he's talking about the protocol, just his search engine - which is a whole other subject.

      • Re:Weak (Score:5, Interesting)

        by chazwurth (664949) <cdstuart&umich,edu> on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @11:54AM (#14100761)
        Bram Cohen has in fact condoned piracy, at least until mid-2003. Check out this little piece, now removed from his website, but still accessible via wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20030602145959/bitconju rer.org/a_technological_activists_agenda.html [archive.org]

        "I build systems to disseminate information, commit digital piracy, synthesize drugs, maintain untrusted contacts, purchase anonymously, and secure machines and homes...I refuse to work on technology to track users, analyze usage patterns, watermark information, censor, detect drug use, or eavesdrop. I am not naive enough to think any of those technologies could enable a 'compromise'."

        He was the last person I'd have expected to deal with the MPAA, given what his rhetoric used to be.
        • oh c'mon... he needed "street cred" to get his tool off the ground and in popular use. It's like a million-dollar rapper robbing a 7-11. I'm guessing he chose that kind of rhetoric to get his tool off the ground with early adopters for downloading large files (surprise -- mostly illegal copies). Once its efficacy became apparent, legit uses started to pop up for it (like distributing distros). And now he cleans himself off. Like a good politician or businessman.
          • That's assuming he ever intended bittorrent to be a massive commercial success. I'm not sure that's the case. He really used to come off as an uber-geek with an attitude. Of course that could have been an affected persona, but given the things he's written, the interviews people have done with him, and the fact that he was so obsessed with writing bittorrent that he went into debt past his ears, I'm doubtful.
        • Re:Weak (Score:3, Informative)

          by Al Dimond (792444)
          There was already an article about this quote on /.

          http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/07/01/13 55234&tid=123&tid=95&tid=155 [slashdot.org]

          I think it's pretty widely accepted that it was on a page he made as a joke making fun of some similarly-worded actual manifesto whose name I can't recall.
  • They announced the news as a major blow to illegal file sharing by using BitTorrent (???), but that a problem for MPAA was that it would still be open source and anyone could make their own derivates of the program despite this (???). :-S

    I think there was some misunderstandings both about what BT is and what MPAA is requiring him to modify. :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @10:49AM (#14100200)
    This guy's raised 8.75 million in venture capital, and my copy of BitTorrent STILL hassles me for donations with a message about BitTorrent being Bram's "sole source of income"? Yeah, he's hurtin'.

    I can't believe I'm eating IMITATION Kraft Dinner because I gave to this guy.
    • I don't know who's drinking the Kool Aid to give him that cash in the first place: the idea of Torrents working effectively with large-sacle media suppliers and their DRM is stupid.

      Either every file has the same encryption/obfuscating DRM and you end up distributing it to the biggest cracking network around (perhaps even with a plug in to the torrent software that does distributed key cracking while downloading), or that the DRM is keyed to a single computer by the media suppliers at the cost of being able
  • I didn't know that! And it's the hub for the ENTIRE BitTorrent network?!?!?! WOW!

    I guess that's the end of the BitTorrent network! Too bad!

    MPAA is so clueless....Thank the Gods!

    ttyl
              Farrell

  • from my patent on a system to put toothpaste back into the tube...
  • by kamapuaa (555446)
    Why should the MPAA have any problem with a search engine dedicated entirely to the distribution of Linux distributions?
  • Maybe I overlooked something in the article, but I don't see what Cohen got out of the deal. I saw that he raised a large pile of venture capital for commercial online distribution, but I didn't gather that he got anything out of this "agreement" with the MPAA other than "You will agree to censor your search engine lest something unfortunate happen to your kneecaps".
  • by PhoenixPath (895891) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @11:13AM (#14100396)
    With this move, regardless of it's actual impact on pirating via BitTorrent, he is vastly increasing his chances of successfully slamming down any charge of intent. He is showing that his intended use of the network is not piracy, and that steps can be taken by tracker owners/aggregators to limit the use of this app to legitimate uses.

    This is all to protect himself from future lawsuits. It will have no effect on other bittorrent search sites.

    He done good....and did it without harming any users, legit or not.
  • Tim Berns Lee also signed an agreement not to help people find copyrighted content using http.

    When questioned about the issue, why someone who writes a protocol, not a search provider like google, would have to sign an agreement, the RIAA/MPAA/PETA/ACLU (they are all the same!) said:

    "If those freaky-ass greeks on slashdot don't know the difference, or even if they do, their brains don't click to mention it, and the whole 'Intarwebnet' hyperfuckwads* go on and on about cliquey terms that in the end insight t
  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Wednesday November 23, 2005 @11:26AM (#14100503) Homepage

    I think Cohen's reacting in part to the Grokster decision. There and in Betamax it came down to two points: whether legal uses existed and whether the maker encouraged illegal uses or not. For a while, if the RIAA tried to come after the BitTorrent protocol itself on the first point they'd've had to overcome the use of BitTorrent to distribute things like Linux distributions (which is a perfectly legal use). Now if they try to use the same arguments against Cohen that they used against Grokster, arguing he's encouraging illegal uses himself, they're going to have to overcome this contract with the MPAA that binds him to doing exactly the opposite. I think he's being a very smart cookie, looking at the legal arguments people like the RIAA might use to attack him as creator of the protocol and reference implementation and making sure he's got as many legal obstacles in any attacker's way as possible.

    • I have had a real hard time with Optimum Online interfering with BT traffic. The default 6881 port is almost unusable, and I notice that lately even if I switch to another port, it has been slow. It took me three DAYS to get an OpenSUSE DVD image last week via BitTorrent. This is nothing short of ridiculous, and is why I'm switching to Speakeasy DSL. I'm probably going to have to get IDSL just because I'm so far from the CO, which is going to cost me even more money, but screw Cablevision. As soon as my DSL
  • When I heard there was a press conference between Bram Cohen and the MPAA I thought it would be something neat, like some sort of agreement to explore distributing movies via BT. Instead its just some protection agreement to keep Bram out of court. How lame... the MPAA isnt learning anything. They're still fighting for their old distribution models.
  • Bram is brilliant. BY not officially supporting (and indeed suppressing) the searching of "illegal" content from the official site, he maintains his common-carrier status, and simply tows the line for the rest of us. This is no different than alcohol companies urging you to drink in moderation, big tobacco supporting quit-smoking programs or major manufacturers of recording equipment mentioning in the manual that the hardware and software is "no intended for the duplication or dissemination of copy-protec
  • by griffjon (14945)
    Uh ... does anybody have a torrent of it?

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